Oprah Winfrey is one of those people who can single-handedly shape popular culture on a whim. Her show was a fortress of culture for decades and her book club coerced millions of Americans to read literary titans and upcoming writers (albeit for all of the wrong reasons, at least in most cases). So when someone like her agrees to appear in a feature film, it is bound to draw some attention.
That kind of attention is exactly what Lee Daniels is hoping to draw with his new film “The Butler”. The film follows an African American man from his beginnings in rural Georgia to his long-term position as White House butler, in which he serves seven presidents and watches the country change. Think of it as a more socially conscious and less goofy “Forrest Gump”.
Oprah plays the supportive, although disenchanted wife of the titular character, who is played by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker. The cast also includes Terrance Howard, Lenny Kravitz Cuba Gooding Jr., and Robin Williams, along with several other recognizable faces.
While the support around is strong, look for Whitaker to steal the show as he did in his signature role in “The Last King of Scotland,” which earned him his best actor statuette.
The film is Daniels’ follow-up to 2009’s “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” which won its fair share of Oscar spotlight, including wins for best actress and best adapted screenplay. If the film follows in those footsteps Oprah could find herself nominated for a second time. She earned a best supporting actress nomination for 1985’s “The Color Purple”.
Read more about the movie, including an interview with the two stars, here.